Cover photo for Stella  Marie Bryson's Obituary
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1924 Stella 2021

Stella Marie Bryson

March 1, 1924 — April 8, 2021

Stella Marie Heath Bryson passed away peacefully at Livingston Health & Rehabilitation on April 8, 2021. Surrounded by her loving family, she left this earth, leaving many years of a well lived and loved life. The eldest of 8 siblings, she was born to Henry and Alma Myra on March 1, 1924 in Sacred Heart, Minnesota. In 1929, when Stella was 6 years old, her family migrated by train from Minnesota to Colville, Saskatchewan where they planted their farm's wheat, then headed to Northern Saskatchewan and filed a claim on 260 acres and put down their roots, which remains in the family today. Enjoying the fullness and simplicity of life, she enjoyed and embraced the way of life as a farmer and rancher. Experienced in daily duties of working the land with her hands, she always had a soft spot for bum lambs and never turned down an invitation to do some small stream fishing. Stella attended a small countryside school in the Wilroy School District, Meadow Lake which was established in 1936. She schooled there until her 8th grade graduation on July 31, 1940. She worked hard through 8 grade levels in just 4 years. Trading further schooling for working the land, Stella spent 2 lonesome years caring for the Homestead, animals, farming and haying. Passionate about a simple yet hard living way of life, she chose to stay behind when her parents and 7 siblings moved away from Meadow Lake to Sunnyside, Oregon. Not only did she continue working the land, ranching, and upkeeping on the Homestead by her lonesome for nearly 2 years, she spent some time welding in the shipyards at Swan Island during the war. From time to time, a close neighbor would check in on her until her family returned to bring her back to Oregon. She commercially fished with her father at Winchester Bay, Oregon, was a store checker at Safeway, and actively involved with the American Legion Auxiliary in Livingston, MT, as well as the Royal Neighbors, and VFW. Stella met George (Bill) K. Heath in 1942, they married in 1944, and had two children, Lura and Alma and migrated to Montana. After their divorce in 1949, she married Norman Heath in 1950 and they resided on the family homeplace where they ranched, between Wilsall and Ringling. They added more children to their growing family, Norma, Norman, George, and Peggy. In 1962, Norman died tragically, and she quickly left the home place so that she could provide care and work for her family. In 1967, she married Herbert Bryson, who also suffered a tragic accident and Stella was left, once again the sole support of her children. Stella spent many of these years serving as school cook in Wilsall and Clyde Park.Montana remained home for Stella as she continued raising her children, enjoying the great outdoors, square dancing, and spent countless hours on craft projects like painting, knitting, crocheting, and quilting. If you ever played a card game against her, you've probably lost more hands than won with her. She has a long-standing reputation of making the best biscuits and gravy for miles around! In her later years, she spent so much time making sure that each of the grandkids received a special handmade quilt as they married off. While the shoes of a woman who lived a very long life through many different decades cannot be filled, she left and passed many strong values to her children, grandchildren (and great grands), and to those who knew her. Her 97 years of grit and grace will continue on in her family she leaves behind. She is survived by: Siblings: Ruth Stinson (Canby, Oregon), Jerald (Rhondi) Myra (Oregon City, OR), Virginia Stricklin (Pensacola, FL). Her Children: Lura Van Gelder (Wilsall, MT), Norma Counts (Emigrant, MT), Norman & Cindy Heath (Meeteetse, WY), George Heath (Clyde Park, MT), and Peggy Heath (Wilsall, MT). Her 13 grandchildren, 23 great grand-children, and 3 great great grand-children.Stella is preceded in death by her parents, sisters Lorraine Eichhoff and Marge Holum, and Lois; her brothers George and Leroy, husbands George, Norman and Herb, daughter Alma Baukol Larrabee and grandson Kendall Baukol.Cremation has taken place at Franzen Davis Crematory and the family is planning a Celebration of Life is tentatively set for June 12. Please look for service updates to come.Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.
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